In the Ten Commandments it mentions God punishing the children for the sins of their parents. Does God really punish us for the sins our parents do?
The verses that mention this is one of the commandments given in the book of Exodus Chapter 20;
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.Ex. 20:4-6 (emphasis added)
The Hebrew word for visiting in this context means to oversee or punish, and the word iniquity is referring to the sins that people do. However, knowing what God’s word says about this issue, the proper understanding of this verse is stating that God will punish those who do this sin and to the generations that follow (their offspring or the children) IF they sin also. It does not mean our children are punished for our sins or are we punished for our children’s sins;
The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father’s iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son’s iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. Ezk.18:20
Also in Deuteronomy, it reads;
“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin Deu.24:16
Each of us are accountable for our own sins.This is sometimes confused with the fact that we would be held accountable for intentionally leading someone into sin. However that is an entirely different matter.